Casual dating is not a 21st century devised term. It has existed ever since men and women decided that love was one of the things one needs to incorporate in their lives — for fun or just as a desperate, needy attempt. The 90s shining star Govinda had confessed to a chilling truth about his marriage to Sunita and his love for Neelam in an interview with ‘Stardust’. Coming from a humble background of Virar, Govinda felt distant and unfit in the glamorous world of Bollywood. He had never interacted much with women and so, romancing a heroine on-screen was definitely not something which came naturally to him. He was uneasy and awkward.
“I felt very uncomfortable and awkward holding a girl in my arms. So, later, my brother told me, ‘Why don’t you have an affair just to get some experience of romance? You’ll at least, learn how to hold a girl in your arms.”
And this is when Govinda met Sunita. With no intention to get into a serious relationship, Govinda started dating Sunita. He admits he was impulsive in getting committed to Sunita.
However soon Govinda realized that enacting a romantic scene doesn’t need a real life romance, just the way a death scene doesn’t require one to experience death. His naivety and innocence cost him a lifetime of heartbreak.
Because soon came the young and beautiful Neelam.
Born and bred in Hong Kong, Neelam was a big hit in the 90s. When Govinda met her on the set of a new movie, he was nervous and found himself fumbling for the right words. He was smitten at first sight and knew that she is a distant dream.
”I remember the first time I met her…She was wearing white shorts. Her long hair falling straight, like an angel’s. ‘Hello’ she said politely, and I was scared to reply because my knowledge of English was embarrassing…She was a distant dream. I had seen her in ‘Jawani’, and seen the film again and again only to see her.”
However following this, they worked on a number of movies together — ‘Ilzam’, ‘Hatya’, ‘Love 86’, and ‘Zordar’ being a few of them. He confessed that he fell deeper and deeper in love with her with every moment they spent together. This led to friction between him and Sunita. He would ask her to change and be like Neelam. Naturally, Sunita felt feel insecure and jealous.
”In one of those fights, Sunita said something about Neelam, and I lost my head and called it quits. I asked Sunita to leave me. I broke off my engagement with her. And had Sunita not called me after five days and coaxed me into it again, I would probably have married Neelam.”
Neelam had met Govinda’s family and everyone loved her except his mother. She was bothered by her son not keeping his word of promise. She really wanted him to stick to Sunita.
”She felt that since I had given my word to Sunita, I must honour it. And I knew that if I didn’t do it, it would hurt her. And for me, no relationship can be more important than my mother. Her happiness will always be my primary concern.”
And well, he did.
Perhaps Neelam’s unattainable stature was one of Govinda’s excuses to fulfill his commitment to Sunita. Or vice-versa, who knows.
“I was never her cup of tea anyway. I am a ghati. An unpolished boor, and she’s a Dresden doll. Clean, pure, polished and dignified. We would probably never have got along.”
And so Govinda secretly got married to Sunita, never ever revealing the truth to even Neelam. But the reason he didn’t tell her sounds more calculative.
”I probably did not tell her because I did not want to break this successful screen pair. To be honest, I did exploit my personal relationship with Neelam for professional ends. I played dirty with her. I should have told her that I was married.”
Despite all calculative measures Govinda took to not lose control, and do what’s supposed to be done, he couldn’t forget Neelam.
Nevertheless, Govinda is proud of his decisions — with hardly any regret.
”Sunita loves me. She has changed herself totally for me. But no matter what happens, I have a clean conscience. I’ve never hurt anyone intentionally. My involvements were not with the intentions of hurting. I could have backed out of my commitment to Sunita. But I didn’t. For whatever reasons, I had fallen in love with Sunita at one time. Love means giving, not taking. I don’t demand anything. Nor do I expect. It’s pure, simple love.”
And yet, Govinda will never disregard his love for Neelam. He calls it ‘love in its purest form’.
”I hate it when my relationship with Neelam is termed as an affair. It somehow demeans the status of the relationship, the depth of my feelings. And I say my feelings, because I can only be sure of them. What she felt, she knows. Maybe there was nothing from her side. But I will never deny my love and reverence for her. I will always care for her. For me it was love, not lust. Love in its purest form.”
And while some say these things were written by the hands of destiny, but if only Govinda didn’t go so out there to make things happen, he might just have got what, or whomsoever, he wanted. Yes, he indeed paid a huge price for his calculative moves.
Read the entire interview here.